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Articles: At-Risk

Sharie Akinmulero is an English teacher in San Antonio, Texas.

As school districts around the country experiment with various reforms aimed to increase graduation rates and prepare student for college, one such initiative already has established a proven track record of success.

Students attending an Internationals Network-supported school learn English language skills.

Despite fewer unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America, many U.S. K12 schools still struggle to adapt to the challenges of educating this diverse set of immigrant students.

During the 2014 fiscal year, the Department of Homeland Security reported that 57,496 unaccompanied minors arrived in the United States. In the first eight months of fiscal year 2015, the number dropped to fewer than 18,000.

Elizabeth Rose’s new book tells the story of a substitute teacher moved between schools each week in New York City.

When Elizabeth Rose’s teaching job was cut, she was presented with two options: leave the profession or substitute in a different Manhattan public high school each week. Rather than give in, Rose—who’s also a musician, writer and actor—took on the substitute challenge. It was “a temptation no storyteller could resist,” she says.

Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Ahart strives to bring equity, pride and higher achievement to a once-struggling district that is far more diverse than the rest of Iowa. A garden of multicolored poles students have installed outside one low-income school taunt would-be vandals and represents Ahart's belief in the transformative power of education.

Clockwise from top left: Kara S. Finnigan, Lesli C. Myers, Kevin McGowan and Shaun Nelms

Although the country is becoming increasingly diverse, our schools remain racially and economically segregated. High poverty schools with large proportions of students of color often have less experienced teachers, more transitory populations and challenges in providing a safe environment.

The 2014 annual survey of the American Psychological Association found that teens reported stress greater than did any other age group.

With that in mind, a new pilot study, published in the spring issue of the journal Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, describes how a stress-reduction/resiliency-building curriculum developed by the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital helped a group of Boston-area high school students significantly reduce anxiety.

Kimberly Cervantes is an 18-year-old Compton student and plaintiff in the trauma case. The other four students involved in the case are under 18 and anonymous.

A first-of-its kind class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of five students and three teachers against Compton USD in California alleges the district does not adequately address the impact of childhood trauma on learning.

From early-learning to entrepreneurship to the environment, innovative instruction propels students to meet more rigorous standards and graduate high school better prepared for their next steps in life.

Under a new plan for decentralization, Denver Public Schools will have flexibilities in curriculum and assessments that are traditionally associated with charter schools.

Principals in Denver Public Schools will soon have the power to purchase their own curriculum, professional development plans and testing programs.

Denver schools announced in May its move to a decentralized model for 2015-16, joining a growing urban district movement to give traditional public schools the flexibility of charters.

Last year, more than 900 middle school students gathered at the American Museum of Natural History in one of New York City’s largest science fairs (with more than 400 projects) on the 10th anniversary of the museum’s middle school science initiative, Urban Advantage.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is leveraging its scientific resources to address K12 STEM education needs and to help develop future scientists.

The museum’s mission is to “discover, interpret, and disseminate, through scientific research and education, knowledge about human cultures, the natural world and the universe.” It houses more than 33 million specimens and artifacts.

The U.S. public school system’s focus on struggling students leaves high-achievers—especially minorities, the economically disadvantaged and English-language learners —without a challenging enough education, experts say.

Superintendent Darwin Stiffler has raised achievement for migrant students in his Yuma, Arizona district.

Driven by a passion to create an environment where teachers and students can reach full potential, Superintendent Darwin Stiffler has implemented programs to support the migrant workers and military families whose children attend the Yuma Elementary School District in Arizona.

American Indian students consistently trail all other minority groups on standardized tests. But this population had the largest reported graduation rate gain of any demographic between 2010-11 and 2012-13, rising from 65 percent to nearly 70 percent in two years.

The jump is perhaps due in part to greater numbers of native teachers and administrators returning to reservation districts, some experts say.

A Champions of Wayne student receives her award for reaching an academic goal at a large ceremony at the end of the year.

A mentorship program’s $200 incentive for academic achievement is successfully motivating students in a district located in the heart of the declining automotive industry. "Champions of Wayne" was created by a school psychologist who mentored a handful of students and engraved their names on a four-foot trophy if they achieved an academic goal.

Mark D. Benigni is the superintendent of Meriden Public Schools. Miguel A. Cardona is the district’s performance and evaluation specialist.

Meriden, Connecticut, is a struggling, former industrial city, once known for its silver manufacturing, lamp producers, military product development, and automotive component assembly plants.

We were both born there, to parents who had little more than each other and a dream for their children. We were poor. We were the statistic.

Yet, just as we were unleashed from the grip of poverty, so too can millions of other children break free. We chose education as a profession because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.

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